A Day In The Life of MSNBC…
The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple takes a deep deep dive on MSNBC and its daytime broadcasts…
Ok, let’s stipulate a few things right off the bat:
1) If you look hard enough during any daytime broadcast you’re going to find superficial twaddle banter at one point or another.
2) Anyone can have a bad interview or wind up being harder on “one side” vs. “the other side”.
3) Nobody is perfect.
4) There isn’t a single anchor of quality out there who, if I looked long and hard enough at them, I wouldn’t find something that they did that I didn’t like or thought they could do better or I thought they handled badly (see #3).
And that’s what bugs me about part of Wemple’s article. It spends a little too much space going after the soft easy targets that don’t really matter when the sole source of your sample is a single day. That’s why, when I’m evaluating talent and how they do on the air, I look at their entire history on the channel. When you do that things average out and you see who really swims and who really sinks. And this doesn’t just apply to MSNBC but its competition as well.
The rest of Wemple’s article is far more interesting – especially the analysis of “Now” – and particularly how Wemple got Phil Griffin to respond…
When asked about this monotopicalism, Griffin went into something of a lecture: “I’ll tell you, I think we are evolving the channel a bit,” he told the Erik Wemple Blog. “Look, politics is at our core,” he added, noting that MSNBC reaches a diverse audience that reflects “America in the 21st century” in ways that competitors do not. In the coming year, says the network president, MSNBC will be covering more technology and “things that are really changing America.” The idea, he says, is to “broaden out so we’re not as limited by election cycles.”
Interesting. In the election year of 2014, Griffin is apparently suggesting MSNBC will broaden out from “the election cycle”. Shouldn’t that have really happened this year, which was a non-election year?
And there’s this…
More from Griffin: “I think the one thing you can say is that at MSNBC we’re honest to our viewers, we correct mistakes, we don’t put out slogans that are meaningless — ‘We report, you decide’ — and we’re not going to say if we want a candidate to win, that candidate is going to win,” he says.
“we don’t put out slogans that are meaningless”
COUGH COUGH…”Lean Forward”…COUGH!
The upshot is that MSNBC brass is not claiming that its dayside work is straight-up-the-middle reporting. Only in the cesspool of cable news is not lying about the premise of your programming a selling point.